Best taken as a straight sequel to the 1987 original (which is even referenced in the plot), Predators forges its own path with an ensemble sci-fi actioner that is a careful balance between nostalgia and originality. The opening minutes are a little shoddy but the large cast keeps things moving well enough that you won't realise until 20 minutes in that there hasn't been single sighting of anything supernatural. The film feels no need for an upfront teaser to reassure the fans that they are seeing a Predator film – quietly confident that it works without the need for overpowering effects and gore.
It’s not perfect – Lawrence Fishburne’s character is a little problematic and the final act finds itself with too many bodies left to dispose of, killing off characters in quick succession before an ending that threatens to go off the rails. Brody is great as Royce – adding a guttural bark to his normal nasal tone and getting in tremendous shape. The cast in general is surprisingly solid, especially the ineffably cool Alice Braga and a memorable Walton Goggins, who earns most of the films laughs with some off-colour humour.
It may not be a sci-fi action classic, but Predators is easily the best movie in the series since the original.